US 3477349 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Nov. 11. 1969 J. c. BE'RNEY 3,477,349 A AUTOMATIC CASE ASSEMBLING APPARATUS Filed Nov. 13, 1967 I 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 I INVENTOR. .56 aose y c. a e/v5) I Nov. 11-, 1969 ;,E,ER,\1EY I 3,477,349
AUTOMATIC CASE ASSEMBLING APPARATUS INVENTOR. JOSEPH C. BEaP/VEV POM/1: E2, mvoeee Mqers/vs United States Patent M 3,477,349 AUTOMATIC CASE ASSEMBLING APPARATUS Joseph C. Berney, Newport Beach, Calif.
(2701 (22-B) Peterson Way, Costa Mesa, Calif. 92626) Filed Nov. 13, 1967, Ser. No. 682,197 The portion of the term of the patent subsequent to Apr. 1, 1986, has been disclaimed Int. Cl. 1331b 1/80, 1/68; B65b 61/24 U.S. Cl. 93-53 12 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE Apparatus for opening a knocked-down case, folding the bottom flaps upwardly into a substantially closed position and stapling the bottom flaps together. The apparatus is pneumatically operated and functionally synchronized so that the knocked-down cases are automatically opened and assembled for use. The apparatus comprises a case feeding station, a forming station, a bottom side flap folding station, and a bottom flap fastening station. A pair of spaced actuated-anvil stapler heads are mounted below the position of the case in the bottom flap fastening station so that each of said stapler heads is positioned below one of the end flaps. A vertically extending hold down plate is mounted above the stapler heads on a piston rod of a double-action air cylinder for vertical movement downwardly into the case to prevent movement of the bottom flaps of the case away from the stapler heads when staples are being injected into the case. The hold down plate and the stapler heads are synchronously actuated. The fastening station in one embodiment also includes a case advancing mechanism comprising a horizontally mounted air cylinder which is activated after the first set of staples are injected into the case to advance the case into position for receiving a second set of staples to provide a reinforced bottom for the case.
BACKGROUND OF INVENTION This invention relates to apparatus for setting up foldable cartons and more particularly to apparatus for opening flattened, foldable shipping containers into a rectangular shape, folding their bottom flaps to a closed position, and stapling the bottom flaps together in the closed position.
Conventional folding shipping containers of the rectangular, four flap type, are typically manufactured from a single piece of cardboard, corrugated board, or the like, cut into predetermined pattern and provided with indented fold lines to facilitate folding into a rectangular case. The manufacturer usually folds the cardboard pattern once to bring two opposite edges together and then joins these two edges, such as with a strip of adhesive tape for example to form what is commonly known as a manufacturers joint. When the case is set up for use, the manufacturers joint is at a corner defined by the meeting of an end and a side of the case. The cases are shipped in this compact, folded form commonly known in the art as the knocked-down condition of the case. Each case must be set-up by opening it to a rectangular shape and then folding the bottom flaps inwardly to a closed position. The bottom flaps are then typically maintained in the closed position by gluing, by a strip of gum tape, or by stapling. The present invention is directed to an apparatus for automatically setting up four flap foldable cases and closing and stapling the bottom flaps.
Overall operation of portions of the apparatus and its structure are fully disclosed in copending application Ser. No. 482,801 entitled Foldable Case Set-Up Apparatus of Joseph C. Berney which is incorporated herein by reference.
3,477,349 Patented Nov. 11, 1969 Commonly, the prior art case set-up apparatus turn the cases on a side or end while setting the case up and hence deliver these cases in an inconvenient position for filling or other utilization. Thus there is a need for an apparatus which is capable of folding cases and delivering them in an upright position with the bottom side flaps and end flaps securely stapled.
A dilficulty encountered with prior attempts to automatically staple the bottom end flaps and bottom side flaps together in a secure fashion has been that an opposing anvil or pressure plate has been necessary to apply counter-directed pressure to the interior bottom surfaces of the case for bending the staples. Such devices require close synchronization of the pressure of the anvil and the opposing force with which the staple is injected into the case. Additionally the anvil must be of a sufiicient size to provide a counter acting surface for applying staples at various positions in the bottom of the case. These devices, accordingly, have little flexibility and must be individually designed for cases of various thicknesses and sizes.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION This invention is directed to a case set-up apparatus for foldable cases received in a knocked-down configuration. The apparatus includes means for opening the cases and for inwardly folding the bottom flaps to a substantially closed position. The apparatus further includes the mechanism for transporting the case to a bottom flap fastening station. This station includes means for extending within the case to prevent upward movement of the bottom side flaps and end flaps beyond a predetermined position. These means are synchronized with spaced stapler mechanisms which inject fastening staples into the bottom flaps of the case for forming a folded, closed-bottom case in a ready to use condition. Preferably the staples are actuated anvil staples and the flap hold down device need not serve as an anvil.
The apparatus basically comprises a case feeding station, a case forming station, a bottom side flap folding station, and the bottom fastening station. The bottom fastening station includes a pair of actuated-anvil stapler heads which are spacedly mounted along the path of movement of the case through the apparatus so that each stapler head in the bottom fastening station is mounted below one of the bottom end flaps. A hold down plate is mounted on the piston rod of a double-action air cylinder above the bottom fastening station for vertical movement downwardly into the case and into contact with the closed bottom flaps. The staplers and the hold-down plate air cylinders are synchronously actuated so that the hold-down plate resists movement of the bottom flaps away from the staplers durin g actuation thereof.
A case advancing mechanism may be mounted adjacent the bottom fastening station to move the case into position for a second set of staples after the first set has been injected. This mechanism comprises a double-action, air-actuated cylinder having a piston rod with a spring mounted pusher member at its free end. The pusher member is spring biased in the path of case movement into the fastening station and is moved out of the path of the case as it moves into the station. The biasing force of the spring returns the pusher member into position for case advancement after the case has proceeded into the fastening station. The case advancing mechanism is functionally synchronized with the stapler heads so that the case advancing mechanism air cylinder is actuated immediately after the first set of staples have been injected into the case.
DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS This invention may be more clearly understood from the following detailed description when taken in conjunction with the appended claims and the accompanying drawings wherein:
FIGURE 1 is a pictorial view of the present invention case set-up apparatus depicting changes in the configuration of the case as it passes through the apparatus;
FIGURE 2 is an enlarged side elevation of the stapler mechanisms of this invention in combination with a sectional view through a stapled case showing the opposing hold down surface;
FIGURE 3 is an enlarged view of a staple and stapler mechanism as the staple is being applied to the case;
FIGURE 4 is a schematic circuit diagram for the apparatus of this invention; and
FIGURE 5 is an enlarged plan view of the case and the pusher mechanism for moving the case into a second stapling position.
Referring now to FIGURE 1 it will be seen that the various mechanisms of the apparatus of this invention are mounted on a frame generally indicated as (partially shown). The apparatus includes a feeder station A, a case forming station generally designated as B, a bottom side flap closing station C, and a bottom flap fastening station D.
The feeder station includes a slanted case magazine 12 which receives a plurality of cases in an on-end position as shown in FIGURE 1. The cases are urged by gravity toward the forming station E against detents 11 which hold the cases upright adjacent the forming station. Additionally mechanism may be added behind the stack to assist in urging the cases. The magazine 12 includes an upper horizontal rack 14 mounted on an upstanding portion of the frame 10 as shown in FIGURE 1. The horizontal rack 14 carries an elongated resilient retaining finger 16 downwardly depending from one end thereof as shown in FIGURE 1. The retaining finger 16 is aligned with the slot between the upper end flap and the upper side flap of the foremost panel of each of the stacked cases in the magazine 12. A lower horizontal rack 17 is mounted on the frame It) and carries a second upstanding resilient finger 19 which is aligned with the slot between the foremost bottom end flap and side flap of the foremost case. The retaining fingers 16 and 17 contact the side flap of the rear panel of the cases and restrain movement of that panel from the stack.
The case opening mechanism includes a double acting air cylinder 20 mounted on the frame 10 and carrying a reciprocating piston rod 22. The piston rod 22 has its opposite end connected to a vertically extending vacuum carrier bar 24 which carries two pairs of suction cups 26 at its upper end portion. The suction cups 26 may be connected to an appropriate vacuum line (not shown). As shown diagrammatically in FIGURE 1, the piston rod'22 reciprocates to move the suction cups 26 into contact with the side panel of the foremost case in the magazine 12 causing the suction cups to grasp onto the foremost side panel. The cylinder 20 then reciprocates the piston rod 22 to its fully extended poisition causing the suction cups 26 to pull the foremost case past the detents 11, away from the magazine 12 and into the forming station B. As the side panel engaged by the suction cups 26 is pulled toward the forming station B, the retaining fingers 16 and 17 momentarily restrain the opposite side panel in the magazine thereby causing the case to open. As the case is opened and moved further toward the forming station B, the opposing upper side flap is pulled from behind the retaining fingers. The resiliency of the retaining fingers permit them to flex somewhat to allow the case to be pulled out of the magazine 12. A break plate 27 is mounted on the frame 10 to contact the end panel of the foremost case and square the case to a rectangular configuration as it moves into the forming station B.
When the piston rod 22 is reciprocated to its fully extended position, the case is opened and positioned in the case forming station B. The end flap closing mechanism includes a pair of flap closing devices 30 and 40. The one 4 end flap closing device 30 comprises a double-action air cylinder 32 carrying a piston rod 34 which has its outer end pivotally connected to a crank 36. The crank 36 is fixedly mounted on a horizontally extending stub shaft 37 which is journaled on the frame 10 and connected to a vertically extending flap closing arm 38.
The other bottom end flap closing device 40, as shown in FIGURE 1, includes an air actuated double-action cylinder 42 having a piston rod 44 connected to a crank arm (not shown) substantially identical to crank 36. The crank arm is fixedly attached to a journaled stub shaft which is also fixedly attached to a lever arm 45. A generally rectangular closing plate 47 is angularly mounted near one of its ends to the free end of lever arm 45. This'end of the closing plate 45 defines a bent end portion having a rectangular notch 48. The flap closer devices 30 and 40 are selectively actuated to reciprocate the piston rods 34 and 4 to bring the arm 38 and the closing plate 47 into contact with the end flaps and move them upwardly toward their horizontal closed position.
A case transport mechanism including a horizontally extending double-action air cylinder 50 is mounted above the station B as shown in FIGURE 1. The air cylinder 50 includes a piston rod 52 which is connected at its outer end to a vertical pusher plate 58.
When the case is in the open position shown in FIG- URE 1 with the suction cups 26 engaging the side panel and after the flap folders 3t; and 40 have been activated to cause their respective arms to fold the end flaps inwardly, the case transporting cylinder 50 is actuated to fully extend piston rod 52 and move the case through the side fiap closing station C and into the bottom fastening station D. Prior to entry into the side flap closing and bottom fastening stations the case is moved by the case transport mechanism over a support plate guide track 60 whic his mounted on a foot 62 connected to the frame of the apparatus. Support plate 60 assists in maintaining the bottom flaps in a closed position and supports the case as it moves from the bottom end flap closing station into the bottom side flap closing station.
Basically the bottom side flap closing station comprises guide means generally indicated by the reference numeral 64 and including a plow 66. The function of the guide means 64 is to guide a case, after its bottom end flaps have been closed, from the case forming station B to the bottom fastening station D, while folding the bottom side flaps to a substantially closed position.
A pair of horizontally aligned upper guide bars 68 and a pair of horizontally aligned lower guide bars 70 are mounted to an upstanding portion of the framework 10 at the righthand side of the framework as viewed in FIG- URE l. Theends of the guide bars 68 and 70 closest to the case forming station are curved slightly outwardly to assist in feeding the opened case between the'sets of guide bars. The guide bars maintain the case in the proper laterally aligned position as it passes through the bottom side flap closing station into the fastening station.
The plow portion 66 of the bottom side flap closing mechanism comprises a pair of elongated bars or plow rods 76 and 77 disposed in horizontal alignment between and below the pairs of guide bars 70. Each of the plow rods 76 and 77 defines a respective skewed end portion 76a and 77a which extends angularly downwardly and away from the main body portion of these plow rods. The plow rods 76 and 77 are mounted to the framework 10 in the manner of guide bars 68 and 70. For example all of these bars may be adjustably mounted to the framework 10 to adjust the bottom side flap closing station to accommodate various size cases;
The function of the skewed end portions 76a and 77a of the respective plow rods 76 and 77 is to inwardly plow the bottom side flaps of a case' as it is urged into the guides by the case transport mechanism 50, the main body portions of the plow bars 76 and 77 thus support the bottom of the set-up case.
As a case is fed into the guide means, the case bottom is defined by the inwardly folded end flaps. From the bottom end flap closing station to the bottom flap fastening station the case bottom is supported by the arm 38 and the support 47 of the bottom end flap folding devices 30 and 40 which are in their horizontal positions, then by the support plate 60 and then by the rods 76 and 77. The support plate 60 is maintained by its mounting foot 62 in a position between the skewed end portions 76a and 77a of the plow rods and on the same horizontal plane as the main body portion of the plow rods. The support plate 60 is provided with a downwardly curved projecting tab 61 at its foremost end. The tab 61 is slightly smaller than the rectangular notch 48 in the closing plate 47 so that the closing plate can clear the support plate when moving into position.
The foregoing aspects of the invention are described in more detail in my aforementioned copending application Ser. No. 482,801 filed Aug. 26, 1965.
After the piston rod 52 has moved the case through the guide bars 68 and 70 and the plow rods 76 and '77 of the side flap closing mechanism 66 to the position shown to the right in FIGURE 1, the case is in position for fastening the bottom flaps securely together. This is accomplished by means of a pair of pneumatic operated, actuated-anvil stapler mechanisms 82 and 84 spacedly mounted on a support rail of the frame by means such as bolts 86 shown in FIGURE 2. The stapler mechanisms may be any conventional stapler heads such as Bostitch Stapler Head D20B. Each stapler mechanism 82 and 84 carries a coil of staples 85 which are injected into the case through staple channels 87 and 89 respectively as shown in FIGURE 2. j
A bottom flap hold-down mechanism 90 is mounted above the stapler mechanisms 82 and 84 on a transversely extending support rail (partially shown) of the frame 10. The hold down mechanism 90 includes a double-action air cylinder 92 carrying a piston rod 94 which reciprocates vertically from the air cylinder toward the stapling mechanisms. The outer end of the piston 04 is fixedly connected to a generally rectangular, horizontally extending, stapler opposing hold down plate 96. As shown in FIGURE 2, the length of the hold down plate is less than the spacing between the staple channels 87 and 89 but is sufficient to overlap the case bottom end flaps when the piston rod 94 is in its fully extended position. Thus, the hold down plate 96 merely serves to maintain the bot tom end flaps in position and does not serve as an opposing anvil surface for the stapler mechanisms 82 and 84.
Each of the stapler mechanisms 82 and 84 contains within the stapler head a pair of curved, tong-like piercing clinchers or anvils 98 which pierces the bottom side flaps and bottom end flaps on each side of the staple and then curves in behind the staple to bend the ends of the staple into fastening position as shown in FIGURE 3. The staple mechanisms are aligned beneath the guide rails 68 and 70 and the side flap closing rail 64 so as to be centered under the bottom of the closed case. In this position, staples injected into the case pierce each of the side flaps near the central edge to fix the case bottom in position.
Normally it is sufiicient to apply a single staple from each of the staple mechanisms into the case bottom flaps. For some applications however it is beneficial to reinforce the bottom of the case by applying a plurality of staples thereto. To accomplish this a case step advancing mechanism generally designated as 100 may be mounted on the apparatus frame intermediate guide rail 68 and 70.
The case step advancing mechanism comprises an air actuated, double-action cylinder 102 which is provided with a reciprocable piston rod 104. The outer end of piston rod 104, as best shown in FIGURE 5, carries a spring mounted pusher member 106 which is divided into two straight arm portions 107 and 108. Arm 107 is pivotally connected to piston rod 104 and is spring biased into the path of case movement passed guide rail 68 and 70. The arm 108 is shorter than arm 107 and forms an acute angle therewith so that the arm 108 is the case engaging portion of the pusher member 106. The biasing spring 110 maintains the pusher member 106 in the path of case movement but is not sufliciently strong to resist movement of the case by the case transport mechanism. Thus, as the case moves into the bottom side flap closing position above the staplers 82 and 84, it moves pusher member 106 out of the path of case travel against the biased spring 110. When the case is positioned above the staplers 82 and 84 for stapling of the bottom end and side flaps, the spring 110 returns the pusher member back into the path of case movement with the arm 108 spaced just slightly behind the rear end panel of the case.
In this embodiment, after the first pair of staples have been applied by the staplers 82 and 84, piston rod 104 is moved by air-actuated cylinder 102 to its fully extended position causing the case to be moved to a second stepped position above the stapler mechanisms 82 and 84 for injection of a second set of staples as shown in FIG- URE 5. Thus, referring to FIGURE 5, a pair of staples are injected into the bottom side and end flaps of the case by stapler mechanisms 82 and 84 when the case is in a first position as shown by phantom lines. Air cylinder 102 is then activated moving piston rod 104 to its fully extended position and causing case engaging arm 108 to advance the case above the stapler mechanisms by the length of reciprocal movement of the piston rod. A second set of staples is then injected into the bottom of the case to produce the four staple pattern shown in FIG- URE 5. The hold-down plate 96 (not shown in FIGURE 5) is momentarily lifted from the bottom of the case during advancement by piston rod 104 and is then returned to the hold-down position to prevent upward movement of the case during the stapling. In some instances, it may be possible to merely use the hold-down plate 96- when the first set of staples are injected into the bottom flaps since these staples retain the bottom flaps in closed position while the second set of staples are being applied.
FIGURE 4 discloses schematically the circuitry for operation of the apparatus of this invention. A pair of bus bars and 116 are connected to a suitable source of electrical current through an on-ofi? switch 117. A vacuum pump 118 and associated toggle switch 119 are connected across the bus bars. The circuitry includes a normally open switch 120 which is held closed by the pusher plate 58 when the piston rod 52 is in its retracted position, i.e. when the pusher plate is at the forming station. Switch 120 is in series with a vacuum solenoid valve 122 which is energized through a normally closed pressure switch contact 124a to apply a vacuum to the suction cups 26 of the vacuum carrier mechanism.
Switch 120 is also in series with a cylinder retract control solenoid 126 which is actuated through a normally closed limit switch 128a and a normally closed contact 130a of relay 130. When the solenoid valve 126 is actuated, air cylinder 20 of the case opening mechanism retracts piston rod 22 moving suction cups 26 into contact with the side panel of the foremost case in the magazine 12 and the suction cups 26 grip the case. When in this position the vacuum carrier bar engages limit switch 128 causing the normally closed limit switch contact 128a to open thereby deactivating solenoid 126. This terminates retraction of cylinder A and causes it to re-extend so that the case is opened and transported to the bottom and flap folding station. Engagement of limit switch 128 also temporarily closes the normally open switch contact 128b of switch 128 so that the relay 130 is energized. After switch 128 is released, the relay 130 remains energized by limit switch 120 and normally open contacts 130!) which are closed by the energization of relay 130.
When the piston rod 22 is in its fully extended position it closes the normally open limit switch 138. Because the normally open contacts 130a are held closed by energized relay 130, the relay 142 and the solenoid valve 144 are energized causing the bottom end flap folding devices 30 and 40 to be actuated. When the piston rods 34 and 44 of the end flap folding mechanisms are fully extended, they open the normally closed pressure switch contacts 124a and thereby de-energize the vacuum solenoid valve 122 and close the normally open pressure switch contacts 124b. The case is thus freed from vacuum and supported on the bottom fiap folding mechanisms in the forming station.
At this time the normally open limit switch 148 is closed to produce a delivery of a completed case signal which energizes the relay 150. The solenoid valve 152 also is actuated by this signal through now closed contacts 124b causing the case transport mechanism to extend piston rod 52 to move the case into the bottom side flap closing and stapling stations. The bottom side flaps are plowed up as the case moves through the plow 66 and rails 64. As the piston rod 52 extends, limit switch 120 opens de-energizing relay 130. This opens relay contacts 130e, but the relay 142 remains energized through the normally closed pressure switch contacts 154a and the normally open contacts 142a of relay 142 which are now closed. When the piston rod 52 is in its fully extended position the case is in position for stapling of the bottom flaps.
Full extension of piston rod 52, also closes the normally open limit switch 158 thereby actuating a solenoid valve 160. The solenoid valve 160 controls the flap holddown mechanism 90 so that the air cylinder 92 is actuated to extend the piston rod 94 downwardly to move holddown plate 96 into position in the case. When piston rod 94 is fully extended, it closes the normally open pressure switch contacts 154!) and the stapler solenoid valve 164 is energized. Full extension of the piston rod 94 also opens the normally closed pressure switch contacts 154a de-energizing the relays 142 and 150 and the solenoid valve 144. This retracts the bottom end flap folding mechanism pistons 34 and 44 to their fully retracted positions. The solenoid valve 152 is also de-energized retracting piston rod 52 of the case transport mechanism. The normally open limit switch 158 is again opened by this movement of piston rod 52 and the solenoid valve 160 is de-energized causing the hold-down plate to be withdrawn from the case. When piston rod 52 reaches its fully retracted position limit switch 120 is closed and the machine cycle is ready for repeating the cycle.
If the switch 148 is to control the output of the case former by keeping a take-away conveyor or packing line filled with set-up cases, it can be fixed at a convenient location and changed to a normally closed switch.
If four staples are to be injected into the bottom of the case as in the embodiment of FIGURE a case step advancing solenoid and appropriate actuating switches may be included in the circuitry to be activated after the first set of staples have been applied and hold-down plate 96 withdrawn. The hold-down plate would then be lowered and the staplers actuated again.
The invention may be embodied in other specific forms without departing from the spirit or essential characteristics thereof. The present embodiment is therefore to be considered in all respects as illustrative and not restrictive, the scope of the invention being indicated by the appended claims rather than by the foregoing description, and all changes which come within the meaning and range of equivalency of the claims are therefore intended to be embraced therein.
What is claimed and desired to be secured by Letters Patent is:
1. Case set-up apparatus for foldable cases received in a knocked-down configuration comprising in combination:
means for opening said case;
means for inwardly folding the bottom end and side flaps of said cases to a substantially closed position;
means for transporting said cases to a bottom end flap and side flap fastening station;
stapler opposing means at asid station for extending into said cases and opposing further inward movement of said fiaps; and
means at said station below said cases for stapling said bottom side flaps to said bottom end flaps.
2. An apparatus as defined in claim 1 wherein:
said stapling means comprises spaced, actuated-anvil, stapler mechanisms for injecting spaced fastening staples into said bottom end flaps and side flaps, and said stapler opposing means comprises;
reciprocating means mounted for downward movement intermediate said spaced stapler mechanisms; and
means connected to said reciprocating means for holding the inner surfaces of said bottom flaps while said staples are being injected therein.
3. In a case set-up apparatus for foldable cases received in a knocked-down configuration means for fastening the bottom end flaps and the bottom side flaps together comprising a pair of spaced actuated-anvil stapler heads mounted on said apparatus at a bottom fastening station, each of said stapler heads being positioned below one of said bottom end flaps of a case in said bottom fastening station and means for preventing said bottom end flaps and said bottom side flaps from moving away from said stapler heads during the injection of staples into said case.
4. An apparatus as defined in claim 3 further comprising means for advancing said case a predetermined distance on said stapler heads after injection of said staples to position said case for the injection of a second set of staples.
5. Apparatus as defined in claim 4, wherein said apparatus includes two stapler heads positioned adjacent the underside of said case in said bottom fastening station and said means for advancing said case comprises a pusher member mounted on said apparatus.
6. Apparatus as defined in claim 4 wherein said case advancing means comprises:
a reciprocating member;
a pusher member mounted on said reciprocating member and extending into the path of case movement above said stapler heads, said pusher member being mounted so as to be moved out of said path by the forward edge of said case as it is moved onto said stapler heads;
spring means biasing said pusher back into the said path after said case is positioned on said sta ler heads in said bottom fastening station; and
means for actuating said reciprocating member after said first set of staples have been injected into said case.
7. A case set-up apparatus as defined in claim 3 wherein said stapler heads comprise staple channels through which staples are injected into said bottom end flaps and bottom side flaps and means for piercing said bottom side flaps and end flaps and extending into said case at 0pposite ends of said staple channel for bending the injected staple inwardly into a fastening position.
8. An apparatus as defined in claim 7 wherein said means for preventing said flaps from moving away from said stapler heads comprises a reciprocally mounted plate and said plate is spaced from the staple channels of said stapler heads when in contact with the case flaps.
9. An apparatus as defined in claim 8 wherein said plate overlaps the end flaps of the case.
10. A case set-up apparatus for folding cases received in a knocked-down configuration comprising:
a feeder means for maintaining a plurality of said knocked-down cases in a stack wherein the cases are identically vertically oriented with their bottom fiaps lowermost;
case opening means for pulling the foremost panel of the foremost case in said stack rectilinearly away from said feeder means in a direction perpendicular to said panel to open said case into a tubular rectangular configuration while pulling the case from the stack and transport said case to a forming station adjacent said stack;
pivoting means at said forming station operable in response to said case arriving at said station to fold the bottom end flaps of said case to a substantially closed position;
means responsive to operation of said pivoting means for transporting sad case from said station through an intermediate side flap closing station to a bottom end flap and side flap fastening station;
plow means at said intermediate station for closing said side flaps; and
actuated-anvil stapler means in said bottom fastening station below said case for injecting a plurality of staples into the said bottom end flaps and side flaps.
11. An apparatus as defined in claim 10 further comprising means in said bottom fastening station for maintaining said bottom end flaps and side flaps in a held down position during injection of said staples.
12. A case set-up apparatus for folding cases received in a knocked-down configuration comprising:
a case receiving magazine having means therein for urging cases stacked therein in an on-end position to an adjacent case opening station by a predetermined force;
first and second elongated retaining members fixedly mounted one above the other in vertically opposite alignment in said case receiving magazine, said first member depending downwardly in position with the uppermost vertical slot intermediate the upper side flap and end flap in the foremost panel of the case, said second member projecting upwardly in register with the lowermost vertical slot intermediate the bottom side flap and end flap in the foremost panel of said case said retaining members being smaller than said slots so that the foremost panel in the foremost case in said stack can be pulled freely by said retaining members, said predetermined force being such that the foremost case in said stack will be retained at said case opening station by contact of its rearmost panel with said retaining members;
a reciprocating member selectively moveable perpendicular to the panel surfaces of the case in said stack between a first position at said case opening station and a second position at a bottom end flap closing station, said reciprocating member having a vacuum gripping member mounted thereon for engagement with the foremost panel of the foremost case in said stack when said reciprocating member is at said first position to secure said panel thereto, said second position being spaced from said first position a sufficient distance so that upon movement of said rereciprocating member from said first position to said second position the foremost casein said stack will be pulled open to a rectangular configuration and the rearward panel will be pulled free from said retaining members, said vacuum gripping member being selectively disengageable from the foremost panel of said case when said reciprocating member is at said second position;
a first lever arm disposed at said bottom end flap closing station and rotatably mounted for selective movement beneath a lowered position wherein said lever arm is substantially in vertical alignment adjacent one bottom end flap of a case at said closing station and a raised position wherein said lever arm is in substantially horizontal alignment beneath a case at said closing station, said first lever arm being operable to fold one of said bottom end flaps inwardly to a closed position upon movement of said first lever arm from its lowered position to its raised position, said first lever arm then providing a horizontal track supporting the bottom of said case; second lever arm disposed at said closing station and rotatably mounted for selective movement between a lowered position adjacent one bottom end flap of a case at said closing station and a raised position in substantially horizontal alignment with said first lever arm, said second lever arm being operable to fold said other end flap inwardly to a closed position and said second lever arm then providing a further horizontal track supporting the bottom of said case;
a second reciprocating member capable of moving between a first and a second limit position, said first limit position being adjacent said bottom end flap closing station, said reciprocating member carrying a case engaging surface thereon for moving said case through a bottom side flap closing station to a bottom fastening station at said second limit position;
said bottom side flap closing station comprising a pair of plow members for engaging the side flaps of said case and moving said side flaps upwardly into a substantially closed position as said reciprocating member moves said case towards said second limit position; and
said bottom fastening station comprising a pair of References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,437,228 11/1922 Craig 227155 1,608,049 11/1926 Walter 93-55.1 3,398,657 8/1968 Saucier 53-138 X 1,379,797 5/1921 Bliss 9355.1 2,523,830 9/1950 Klasey 227 X 3,126,685 3/1964 Paxton 227102 3,173,592 3/1965 Herbst 227102 X 3,245,203 4/1966 Miller 227100 X WAYNE A. MORSE, JR., Primary Examiner US. Cl. X.R.